A 31-year-old woman from Princeton, Minnesota, has received a reduced sentence after being convicted of drug charges in federal court. The U.S. Attorney’s office has alleged that she was involved with a drug cartel whose members distributed cocaine and methamphetamine throughout Minnesota.
Originally, the woman was charged with at least six different drug charges, including one count of distributing, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, and three counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine. If she had been convicted of all the crimes, she could have been sentenced to life in prison.
Instead, the woman admitted to acquiring, preparing, packaging and transporting cocaine and was only sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. The exact nature of the woman’s plea deal is unknown, but it is obvious that her criminal defense attorney was able to work with federal prosecutors to throw out charges and reduce her sentence.
In some situations, it makes far more sense to take a plea deal, even if you are innocent, because the risk of conviction and severe punishment is high. While these types of cases do not arise very often, it is vitally important that anyone charged with a crime speak with an experienced lawyer before taking or making any plea bargains with prosecutors. A lawyer can provide advice on whether prosecutors and investigators may have sufficient evidence to convict a suspect or whether it is worth it to fight the charges in court.
According to prosecutors, the cartel was able to import hundreds of kilograms of drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border and all the way to Minnesota. Investigators believe the woman was one of 26 other people who belonged to the supposed drug cartel that were indicted in April of 2009.
Source: Princeton Union Eagle, “Stay gets 18 months for drug cartel involvement,” Jeff Hage, Jan. 19, 2012